Sandra’s Story: A journey in search for education
Young girls in areas prone to tribal fighting in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea face many challenges. Access to an education is one of these challenges, as Sandra John, a student at Hulia Technical Vocational Education Training Centre (TVET), tells us.
Sandra is from from Bisamu village in the remote Kopiago LLG in Koroba Lake, Kopiago District of Hela Province. She completed grade 10 in Tari Secondary School in 2018 and was selected to progress onto grade 11. But Sandra never made it to the grade 11 classroom at Tari Secondary School.
Tribal fights have affected most of the basic services in Sandra's community, including access to education.
"The road condition is in a very bad state and by travelling one can already imagine the collapse in other basic services," says Sandra.
She adds, "There is a lot of unreported tribal fights in our area, which hinder our access to quality and accessible education. Even schools do not have enough dormitories, not enough teachers house and enough desks for us to enjoy learning. For us girls, travelling to access education in places like Koroba and Tari, even within Hela, is risky and challenging. In most times when we feel we can't do much, the only solution would be to get married and start our family and live the life our family and forefathers lived."
Every time Sandra read success stories of prominent Hela women and men, she would dream of her own success. And just when she was about to lose hope and go back home, she heard about Hulia TVET providing free education on different trade courses. Motivated to explore her options, Sandra enrolled in a Tourism and Hospitality course.
She left her village and moved to Tari to pursue education and she hopes to use it as a tool to change the mindset of her community members.
Sandra aims to complete her Tourism and Hospitality course and apply for jobs in hotels or restaurants.
"I am the only girl in my family of 11 siblings to leave the comfort of my remote village and move here in search of better and quality education that will help disclose my hidden talents. I am grateful Hulia TVET has given me the opportunity to start this journey and hope one day I will be a prosperous and successful woman," she said.
The ICRC recently supported the Hulia TVET school with building materials that help in the construction of double classroom. The classrooms are being used to offer Tourism and Hospitality programs and other trades.